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Considering Right Tackle, And the Growth Of Justin Murray

The Cardinals re-signed D.J. Humphries and he'll remain the left tackle. What they will do at right tackle, however, remains TBD. Even with Humphries' return, the Cardinals could in theory choose a high-end tackle with their first pick in April's draft and put him as a Humphries' bookend. They could also look to find someone in free agency.

Or they could end up status quo, a place that -- following Marcus Gilbert's ACL tear just a couple of days before the 2019 opener -- the Cardinals probably never thought they would be at this point. But the play of Justin Murray, acquired at that late point off waivers and who ended up starting 12 games, has made an impact in the perception of both GM Steve Keim and coach Kliff Kingsbury.

"The way Justin Murray played took some pressure off of (seeking a right tackle)," Kingsbury said at the Scouting combine in Indianapolis. "We really felt did a great job and feel he will continue to get better. But we're going to look at all our options. He took some heat off of that pressure."

Murray is an exclusive rights free agent to be, basically meaning if the Cardinals want to keep him, he isn't going anywhere. And they definitely want to keep him. Even if they were to find a new starter -- and to be clear, the Cards sound like a team that will be searching for a potential upgrade -- Murray is a player they can see as their swing tackle as well as someone who could play guard if needed. In an era when teams often only dress seven linemen on game days, that kind of versatility sells.

"When we claimed Justin he certainly showed the ability to play right tackle and towards the end of the season I thought he played at a fairly high level," Keim said. "He's a guy who we're excited to have back. He worked his tail off in the weight room, did all the things (offensive line coach Sean Kugler) wanted to see in the film room so he's a guy we think can continue to grow and get better."

Tackle Justin Murray blocks during a play in LA against the Rams in 2019

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